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What Kind of Care Does My Loved One Need?

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Knowing what to look for in senior care (and when to look for it) can be overwhelming. Today’s senior living communities offer a wide range of care levels, and knowing what kind of care your senior loved one needs can be challenging. The truth is that every resident is different and has different needs. Leisure Care communities offer personalized a la carte care services so that your loved one receives the care they need while enjoying the independence they desire. Still, senior living communities are organized by care levels, and certain licenses allow for certain levels of care.

Take a closer look at the different levels of senior care in senior living and learn which one is the best fit for your loved one.

Exploring the Different Levels of Senior Care

Many of today’s senior living communities offer more than one level of care. This wider range of care services allows residents a greater opportunity to stay in the community, even if needs change over time. Communities that offer independent living, assisted living, and memory care services say they offer a “continuum of care,” and most have the capacity to care for residents through retirement.

In these communities, residents can stay in the community but may have to move apartments, depending on how the community is licensed. For example, some communities have specific floors or wings dedicated to memory care. These are typically more secured areas to prevent wandering and have other features dedicated to mitigating the negative symptoms of dementia.

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Entrance - Fairwinds - West Hills Retirement Community
Fairwinds - West Hills

Assisted and Independent Living in West Hills, California

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The Landing of Towamencin

Assisted Living and Memory Care in Lansdale, Pennsylvania

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Assisted and Independent Living in Rio Rancho, New Mexico

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Learn more about each level of care, what it is, what it offers its residents, and how to know which level of care your loved one needs.

Independent Living

What is independent living?

Independent living communities are specifically designed to enhance the quality of life of seniors. Usually, these types of senior living communities are apartments where seniors enjoy housekeeping services, laundry services, meals in a dining room, and most, if not all, of the amenities you would expect to find in a resort. Offering dynamic activity calendars, independent living communities keep seniors active and engaged in social events. Some offer education lectures, travel opportunities, and the opportunity to live among friends and thrive in retirement.

Independent living communities can empower seniors to live more independently than they were on their own. With scheduled transportation services and an array of services centered around residents, many residents find they live better than ever in independent living.

How do I know a loved one is ready for independent living?

Many seniors move into independent living when they feel like they are ready to say goodbye to homeownership’s stress and are looking for a more relaxed lifestyle. Answering these questions may help you decide if you or a loved one are ready for independent living.

  • Are you concerned about feelings of loneliness or isolation for yourself or a loved one?
  • Are you ready to let someone else tackle the housekeeping, home maintenance, and other stressors of homeownership?
  • Are you ready to say goodbye to utility bills and late fees and say hello to all-inclusive living?
  • Is it time to invest in yourself or a loved one and take advantage of the services and amenities in independent living that promote healthy aging?
  • Are you tired of cooking meals and ready to hand the reigns to a professional chef trained in senior nutrition?
  • Is it time to move somewhere that can accommodate future care needs?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, it may be time to look into an independent living community that meets your short-term and long-term needs.

Assisted Living

What is assisted living?

Assisted living communities offer seniors assistance with activities of daily living. Similar to independent living communities, they offer a wide range of amenities and services, but they also offer care. Activities of daily living generally include personal hygiene (bathing, grooming, nail and hair care), continence management, dressing, dining, and mobility.

By obtaining the extra help needed, residents in assisted living are able to enjoy retirement more. Assisted living communities also offer activities that can increase independence, like fitness classes and cognitive wellness training, all designed to improve residents’ lives.

How do I know a loved one is ready for assisted living?

It can be hard to decide that it’s time to make a move to assisted living. However, many families that do so wish they had made a move earlier. As seniors receive the care services they need, they can begin to live the life they want. Here are some signs that it’s time to find an assisted living community.

  • Is your loved one struggling to eat healthy and balanced meals?
  • Have you noticed expired or spoiled food in the pantry and refrigerator?
  • Is your loved one increasingly relying on you for transportation needs?
  • Are you concerned that your loved one may fall in their home?
  • Are there signs that your loved one is no longer taking care of their personal hygiene?
  • Are you concerned about your loved one’s medication management?
  • Have you noticed kitchen appliances are left on when not in use?
  • Are there stacks of mail and bills piling up?
  • Is your loved one lonely?
  • Would your senior loved one benefit from a community lifestyle with activities that promote healthy living and independence?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, it may be time to look into an assisted living community that meets your short-term and long-term needs, helping you regain balance in family relationships.

Memory Care

What is memory care?

Memory care communities offer assistance with Alzheimer’s disease and related forms of dementia. It can be devastating to watch a loved one progress through dementia. Memory care communities are specifically designed to meet seniors with dementia where they are, create a purposeful and intentional lifestyle, and help families cope with a difficult diagnosis. Memory care communities partner with families, restoring family relationships, and helping to carry the caregiver burden.

In a memory care community, residents are offered dementia-friendly meals, secured outdoor spaces to prevent wandering, innovative therapies, and a gently structured day that is reassuring and calming for seniors with dementia.

How do I know a loved one is ready for memory care?

Many families choose to care for a loved one in the early stages of dementia. However, as the disease progresses, professional memory care is typically needed. Here are some signs that it’s time to transition to a memory care community.

  • Are you worried about the physical safety of your loved one when you are not there?
  • Are you worried about your own safety around your loved one as the disease progresses and confusion becomes more common?
  • Are you experiencing exhaustion, fatigue, or caregiver burnout?
  • Is your loved one neglecting financial obligations?
  • Is your loved one neglecting their personal care?
  • Are you concerned about your loved one wandering?
  • Is your loved one’s living conditions subpar?
  • Is your loved one feeling isolated or lonely?
  • Have you noticed unexplained physical changes in your loved one?
  • Do you want to restore your role as your loved one’s child?

Memory care communities can give family caregivers the space they need while providing seniors with dementia a purposeful and meaningful life. If the answer to any of these questions is yes, it may be time to look into a memory care community that meets your short-term and long-term needs.

Leisure Care offers senior living communities with independent living, assisted living, and memory care services. Located throughout the country, our communities encourage and empower seniors (and their families!) to live better than ever. Find a Leisure Care senior living community near you.

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About the author

Alissa has been working in marketing and the senior living industry for over 8 years. With a B.S. in advertising from the University of Illinois, Alissa has worked all over the world as a freelance communications strategist and writer. Published in Forbes, Senior Finance Advisor, Alzheimers.net and on other leading senior care blogs, she leverages her working knowledge of the senior care industry with leading research and best practices to create engaging content benefitting seniors and their caregivers. In her free time, Alissa loves to travel, read, cook, and spend time with her family.